The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
It’s normal to want things to go well.
But like gravity, we are vulnerable to what we cannot control. We can defy it, but inevitably we must surrender to it. Even the very act of resisting it proves the point.
There is no doubt God wants to bless us. We see it throughout the scriptures. I can’t help but wonder sometimes if we become so focused on this that we forget the other parts of the Bible which tells us about God’s comfort, his strength, and the peace he wishes to give us.
If we didn’t have to deal with things going wrong, then why those scriptures?
Why are we surprised by pain?
Because we’re human.
I know I have spent the greater part of my life embracing “calling those things that are not as if they were”. I was committed, determined, and embodied “faith without works is dead” and “the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much”.
I latched onto the definition of prayer warrior. It was a good fit for my personality and at the end of the day, I felt productive and accomplished. I am naturally responsible, dependable, and find great satisfaction in covering all the bases.
Until I discovered my faith would no longer be activity, but standing.
It wasn’t long before I realized no one really likes you standing around. Not in this busy, goal-driven world we live in. If you aren’t moving and checking things off the list, are you really in a “good place”?
I think there is room for flexibility in the Christian faith. We cannot be rigid where God gives grace.
This does not mean we do whatever we want when it is clear what God says about it.
It means not everyone is going to look the same. Throughout the scriptures, we see Jesus dealing with people in very different ways.
Surely, God must have a greater range and capacity for us than we understand.
When Christopher died unexpectedly, you better believe my Lord and Savior was right by my side. That isn’t to say I didn’t go through horrendous emotions. But if I ever “saw God” like Job did after his suffering, it was then.
Do you know there is a place of suffering that is the greatest dark abyss known to mankind? A place of desperation of drowning and suffocation. Only God exists in this place.
That is why those who have been there are sensitive to Christian platitudes, howbeit well-meaning. (And by the way, it is not a time to become offended with someone who has no patience for it. We would not speak casually to a burn victim. Please know some wounds cannot be seen).
If you haven’t been there, and I pray you never see it, believe what I am telling you.
When God says He is with us, He is.
And because He is, you can trust Him to do all the scriptures tell us .. now .. and into eternity.
Things may not go well, but it will be well with your soul.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
Perhaps never before has humanity been bombarded with instant answers, instant fixes, and instant gratification.
It’s no wonder these words get lost in the pile of everyday distractions.
Yes, even in our churches there is much activity. But you can be sure, somewhere in the midst there is someone who needs to hear these words.
If someone you know is feeling hopeless and sad – tell them these words.
Personally, I think it would do us good to hear these words at every church service. We need the reminder to keep our focus where it should be.
When bad news comes or tragedy strikes the human response is to question God.
But, he left us with these words:
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.
For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
Therefore encourage one another with these words.”